Ally McCoist has paid an emotional tribute to former Scotland and Rangers manager Walter Smith, who has died at the age of 73.
During Smith's first time in charge of Rangers, McCoist played as a striker under him before becoming part of his coaching staff with the Scotland national team between 2004 and 2007.
McCoist then went on to become Smith's assistant at Rangers from 2007 to 2011 and the pair developed a close relationship.
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It was during those four years that Rangers won three league titles, two Scottish Cups and three Scottish League Cups to move them past fierce rivals Celtic in terms of domestic success. Smith's Rangers also reached the UEFA Cup final in 2008 which they lost 2-0 to Zenit St Petersburg.
McCoist says Smith's passing has left him "devastated" and says he was his "second father".
"He means everything to a lot of folk, myself included," McCoist told talkSPORT.
He was my boss, my coach, my second father and then turned into one of my best friends.
"The loss is absolutely incredible to tell you the truth.
"The good thing is he's not in pain. I went to see Walter recently, I spoke to him on Saturday and I was going to see him on Sunday but he was too unwell and there was an inevitability about this horrible illness and we knew that it would be a matter of time.
"However, it still does not take away the pain and the grief. I could sit here and tell you about Walter Smith until the cows come home, about how good a manager, how good a coach and a football man he was.
"But what I will say he was the best husband, father, friend, everything you would expect from a man.
"I can't tell you how devastated I am."
As a player McCoist won back-to-back Scottish Premier Division titles under Smith, who took charge of Rangers in 1991.
"He was the best, by some considerable distance," McCoist said. "I was 17 when I first played under him for the Scottish youth team.
"I can still remember locking him out on a balcony as a 17-year-old in Monte Carlo and him giving me that look and I let him in very quickly!
"If you'll allow me to say he was old school because times have moved on but the one thing Walter was, he was 100 per cent honest and fair.
"If he was saying something to you, he wasn't saying it for effect, he was saying it for a reason because it had to be said.
"He was the most genuine of men. He had a wicked sense of humour and he was brilliant to be around.
"He was loved by everyone, and across the divide, make no mistake about that.
We love football rivalry, but my phone's been incredible just now with Celtic friends and supporters, he was just a football man. Clearly a Rangers man, along with Mr [Bill] Struth the greatest manager in the club's history.
"It will take a wee while to sink in.
"A sore loser, but appreciated losing was part of the game and handled it all with so much dignity and class."
Former players, managers and clubs would join McCoist in paying tribute to Smith.

Walter Smith dies aged 73

Image credit: Eurosport

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